WRESTLING IN THE TOON HALL

WRESTLING IN THE TOON HALL
By David Cairns.

Wrestling

Loved Saturdays as a kid..getting a wee lie-in..then playing oot all day, or if the weather was shite, taking yer pick of Grandstand or World of Sport tae watch endless weird sports…like Speedway and stock car racing with Dickie Davis’ ITV or Football Focus then swimming or something on BBC with Frank Bough….

Roonaboot 1977 Kent Walton wis daen his usual Saturday with the Wrestling on ITV, fae Bolton Town Hall..or Doncaster..or somewhere…and this big bearded Canadian with an ‘off-the-shoulder’ leotard is introduced to the crowd for his first fight in Britain…unusually, he took the mic’ before hand, and starts a wee speech about how nice it wis tae be in Britain…he said that his father had fought over here during the war…then he said..
“.. and my father said…he’d never fought with a bigger bunch of yella-bellies in all his days!!”… Jeezo !..there was a stooshie got up.

I didnae know what a ‘yella-belly’ was. Turned oot, he was branding Britain a nation of cowards …I was 12 years old..and I wisnae huvin’ it !…and that had me hooked for the next two years…The Mighty John Quinn was the anti-hero to end all anti-heroes that year.. he fought them all..goodies…fellow baddies like Pat Roach..and it culminated with Big Daddy geein’ him a dooin’ on F.A. Cup-final day !!..

When I started first year at the Grammar, another lad in my class, Jim Broon, was also a ‘grapple-fan’…and me and Jim decided that we should go doon tae Hamilton Toon Hall and see the wresting. We saw those yellow wrestling posters that looked like they were advertising ‘ A Night at The Palladium’ when we went doon the toon at lunchtime…pictures of The Mighty Chang, Kendo Nagasaki, Kung-Fu…..and Andy Robin ???…top of the bill ??..never heard of him…but we were goin’ anyway..

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It always seemed to be a wet walk on a Wednesday night tae the toon hall…the chilly rain sneaking doon yer neck through the stitching in yer cagoule. I walked doon fae Meiky, met Jim in Fairhill, walked past the Grammar, then doon Auchingramont Road, past Sands, then bumped intae the crowds coming fae every direction..fae the toon centre, up fae the auld toon, doon fae Whitehill…you’d see a right old mix of folk..folk fae Motherwell, Wishaw, ..even Glesga…Jeezo..big stuff…

The mair times ye went, the mair ye realised the wrestlers did everything themselves…they even manned the door and took your entry fee..in my day it was aboot 50p or a quid..cannae quite mind….inside…is was like waiting tae put ten bob in the electric meter..just waiting for it tae switch on and come alive..everybody was steaming…aye…steam coming aff them fae the rain…mixing wi’ fag smoke…and the ring was bright and ready…just waiting for the lights tae go doon…

Andy Robin was the local favourite…he passed me by a bit I have to say..nae much of a gimmick..just light blue trunks…but he had a big fucking bear tae…and I don’t mean his wife Maggie..a real bear called ‘Hercules’..and every time Andy fought ( and won)..he’d announce that the next time he was coming, he would bring the bear…and every ‘next-time’…the Cooncil put a ‘health & safety’ kibosh on it…promises, promises !

Me and Jim were dead excited wan time, doon the toon at lunch time, next tae Greggs, there wis a poster for the wrestling..and Andy Robin was fighting ‘The Mighty Haystacks’…couldnae believe it..I mean…Giant Haystacks…fae the telly…in the Toon Hall..mibbees the cameras will be there..mibbees it will be Kent Walton and ITV ? The poster also said they would be ‘fighting…TO THE DEATH!!”…AYE !..it said to the death…they were going tae remove the corner rope pads…exposing the rope hooks…Jeezo !..surely no’ ?
On the actual night, there was a bigger crowd than usual…mair buzz.. mair frenzy…That night was different, it wisnae raining for a start and ootside the toon hall, there wis folk fae even further afield…I saw a snazzy dressed coloured, baldy guy with a beige three piece suit….” Excowse me mace…wheres de nearest poob” he asked..we pointed him to the Silver Tassie or somewhere…it all added to the flavour…I mean…folk fae Birmingham…mental !!

I smelt my first wrestling ‘rat’…there was a guy on the door that night who was a wee fat Lemmy out of Motorhead type..but he also looked like ???…surely no’ !!
Second Wrestling rat !..introduced by the M.C. as “..all the way from Jamaica…Ian ‘Woody’ Wood !”…and there was the exotic coloured fella fae ootside..minus the beige suit… but with three or four pints of Silver Tassie lager in his wee pot belly swooshing aboot…Jamaica ma arse !!.

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Anyway !..he was jist the support act…the M.C. was announcing the Haystacks-Robins fight…Jeezo !…this was going to be mental…tae the death tae !… ” Ladiesanjenelmen !!..THE…MIGHTY…HAY…STACKS!!!….an’ oot walks this cross between Lemmy and Ronnie Corbett…I mean..I might have been 13 or 14..but I wisnae born yesterday…but they removed the post-pads..Andy and ‘The toaty haystack’ flung themselves aboot…naebody died..the bear never came…and wrestlin’ fizzled oot for me..Saturday telly wis noo aboot Daisy Duke on the ‘Dukes of Hazzard’..and she was a real ‘knock-out’ !..great memories though..great atmosphere…who wis the wummin at the front throwin’ her shoes at the wrestlers ?… anybody else go ?

MIND THE CB RADIO CRAZE OF 1981?

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MIND THE CB RADIO CRAZE OF 1981?
The story below was sent to Historic Hamilton by David Cairns.
 
My brother Scott had a wine coloured Hillman Avenger, and in one fell swoop, he doubled the value of the car by paying aboot forty quid tae have a CB Radio fitted tae the car fae a wee shoap next tae the Santa Lucia just aff Gateside Street.
 
Smokey and the Bandit was no’ long oot, Convoy the movie, and CW McCall was in the charts wi’ the theme song… #Pig-pen this here’s a Rubber Duck#…and all that..
 
CB’s were illegal. I don’t think the Polis could be arsed though, as every car fitted with a CB had a 6 foot tall antenna bolted tae the roof of your car…so it really wouldnae have been too difficult for the ‘Smokies’ to work it oot…never heard of anyone getting caught wi’ wan though…
 
‘Smokies’ were the Polis. Hamilton was ‘Circle City’…it had a language of it’s ain, all designed tae confuse the ‘Smokies’ in case they were listening in…
 
An ‘eyeball’ was a meeting in person…kind of like an Eighties version of ‘Tinder’…safe sex was hiding roon’ the corner and up a street in case your ‘eyeball’ was a ‘baikey’…and worse than that , was if she was a baikey, and you were hiding up a street …’just in case’…there would be another 5 folk hiding up the same street waiting to see whit she looked like…cos everybody could listen in..
A wee hoose by Dunn’s the Butcher on Meikle Earnock Road selt ‘Eyeball Cards’… they were aboot £2-00 for a hundred, and ye were meant tae hand over yer ‘Eyeball Card’ if ye met somebody and you were supposed tae collect them.
 
Loads of folk were oot on the ‘wind-up’…me and my mate Alan Hinshalwood Hinshy sat in my brothers car at the top of Balmore Drive talking to ‘Spyo-Gyra’…there was some racket coming fae his end…claimed he was in a helicopter flying ower Strathy Park,,,we were believing it, cos it sounded like a helicopter…until we realised we could SEE fucking Strathy Park fae Balmore Drive…cunt must have taped ‘Airwolf’…and ye were such a fanny if ye ever fell for a wind-up.
 
Hinshy had some irate big brother oan wan night, saying he was gaunnae gie him a doin’ for no’ turnin’ up tae eyeball his sister…she went hame and wiz greetin’ all night. Hinshy and me really couldnae mind but the guy was threatening to ‘twist yer ba’s aroon’ yer neck”..so we decided, for Hinshy’s future children’s sake, that we should attend this ‘eyeball’ which was to take place at the Chippy roon’ the corner fae the Ranch, in Eddlewood.
 
When we walked roon’ the corner, there was aboot 8 guys fae Eddlewood that we were at the Grammar wi’ (one was Jim McDowell)…all burst intae applause and started bellowing with laughter…oor faces went rid…but we pretended it wisnae us …and we just fancied a stroll oot tae the Eddlewood chippy for a bag of chips…then we had nae money…and hud tae leave withoot chips, wi’ mair laughter following us doon the street…we were arguin’ like a married couple..”fucking dick..telt ye it was a wind-up”..” Did ye fuck, you said we better in case the guy came up tae Meiky lookin’ fur us”, ” Naw ah never”…and so it went oan…
 
Jim Broon in my year at the Grammar, and his pal, bolted a car battery and a CB tae a Bogey and wheeled it aboot Fairhill cos they didnae have a motor…or IS that a motor in Fairhill…I don’t know…
 
My handle was FrizzleChip…anybody else mind the days…what was your handle….” Pick a Channel”…
 
 
What was your Handle? Don’t be shy now!

A PLANK OAN WHEELS ? AYE ? AYE- POPEYE !

The following story was sent to Historic Hamilton by David Cairns.

Jimmy Scott fae Ratho Park was the first guy ever-ever in the history of the entire world inside my mind, to imagine, design and build a plank on wheels…he even invented the name…”Skate-Plank”…the name never stuck..but his invention did…today…kids the world over…call it a ‘Skateboard’…the best, crazy-fast craze to come and go I ever saw growing up in Hamilton.

Early summer 1977, I saw Jimmy Scott wheeling his way doon the path that ran fae the top of Balmore Drive over tae Ratho Park…he wisnae on roller skates..they were for lassies..and it wisnae a bogey…too wee for a bogey ?? I decided I needed tae go over and talk to Jimmy aboot this contraption. Jimmy was 2 years older than me, and we were only pals part-time…other times, we wurnae on speaking terms…last time I saw him, he’d been oot on the skite in Hamilton aboot 1986 and he was staggering hame at three in the morning in a tee-shirt…and it was freezin’..I gave him a lift..he was a nice guy..wish I’d played with him mair…

Anyway, this ‘ thing’..plank hing ?..it was a dod of plank, and two halfs of a roller skate nailed through the dod …and that was pretty much it. He pushed off at the top and was travelling about a quarter the pace my granny wheeled a supermarket trolley full of cans of prunes, and by the time he got half way doon the slope..he was flyin’ aboot as fast as I could swim…and then jumped aff…cos of the speed…I mean…you could die…Jeezo…this was real breakneck stuff.

Mair and mair kids were coming for a shot..bless him, Jimmy let everybody have a go. Within a week, my next door neighbour Stuart Baird’s maw went oot and bought him an £18 clear, blue SKUDA board..with a kickboard tail. We were all now in an arms race…like it or not…anybody in the scheme who’s birthday was in the summer or Autumn, was getting a skate-plank…everybody else had tae get an emergency wan….oh, the embarrassment…the shame…we got wan oot the Catalogue Clubby book….a ‘SuperFlyerDeluxe’ widden monstrosity with a rubber bung on the underside heel. It was aboot two foot long, made of wood, and had the logo painted in blue on the tap…all the paint came aff in a week, all the rubber came aff the wheels in a fortnight, and all that…for £6-99.

The wheels wore doon intae a sideywyse ‘v’ shape. The ‘trucks’ were hopeless, and if ye went faster than 10 mile an hoor, ye gote a deadly speed wobble and fell aff….
During that time, ye could only see skateboarding on a wee snippet at the start of ‘World of Sport’ with Dickie Davis on a Saturday before the wrestling. Britain had some guy called Tim Levis who could slalom in and oot o’ tin cans and was going tae the world skateboarding championships in California, where the Yanks claimed, it had been invented…wis it fuck, it was Ratho Park, Meikle Earnock.

That sent ye oot ontae Meikle Earnock’s famous hilly paths, but, as it was September by then, the paths were already covered by Cooncil issue winter road salt. We had tae come doon oot of the altitude of Meiky tae find the best path in Hamilton…the long, path that ran fae Eddlewood Boolin’ Club, doon ower the Fairhill bing and ran steep doon tae Fairhill Avenue at Mill Road..that path was fucken dangerous. A speed wobble was the speed at which a board began to vibrate in the ‘trucks’..but if ye could control it AND were brave enough…ye could get through it….so on that lower path, headin doon parallel tae Buchan Street…I went through the first wobble…and went full pelt tae the bottom…but got another wan at twice the speed..I shit it…and jumped aff…and accidentally broke the world triple jump record en route tae a triple somersault and a triple salchow before skidding tae a halt with blood pouring oot all the new holes in my wooly jumper..it wis fucken magic.

Roon’ aboot that time, a new ‘ Skate-Park’ opened in Kelvingrove Park in Glesga, and Jimmy Scott was the guest of honour and opened it. Ye had tae have safety gear if I mind right, so my mam got us fucken auld yellow miners helmets. Even worse, some folk had skate pads on their elbows and knees made oot o’ auld socks.
It was a special treat that day, going to the park in Glesga, but fuck me, we were oot oor depth..kids were wheechin’ aboot upside doon and back tae front and never came aff…not like today, when they seem tae spend a’ their time jumpin aff the fucken hing.

Back in Hamilton, Christmas was coming, and I had my eye oan a £15 board oot a wee shoap near Woodside Road in Hamilton. Oor Scott on the other hand, was after a ‘Grentek Coyote’…I think that had to be ordered oot a magazine? it was £15 tae..and it was a much better board. Murray Clark and seven of his pals got in the Hamilton Ady for forming an ‘Octomaran’ where eight of them joined together and went doon a hill.

The Cooncil then gote tae work building us a long overdue ‘Skate-Park’..wan tae be proud of. They picked the site…Fairhill Bing !! doon on the grass near the bottom. The story wis at the time, a company were gaunae put in Snake runs and Torpedo Bowls and a half pipe and what have ye, for aboot £15,000…the Cooncil worked oot wi’ a bookies pencil oan the back of a fag packet in Skeltons, that they could dae it for aboot ten thoosand…and so , it came tae pass, that a concrete fucking carbuncle was built over a weekend…and before the concrete set, the locals in Fairhill threw bricks, shoes and auld wellys, car batteries and a shopping basket, two cookers and a Labrador intae the setting concrete…and totally fucked the project up afore the fuckin thing was built. It lay like that, collecting rainwater for about two years…then it was bulldozed…ye can still see a big bump at the bottom of the hill where it wis , I heard they buried a couple of Cooncilors in there tae.

That Christmas…everybody and their aunty woke up tae Grentek Coyotes, proper knee pads and helmets, skateboard annuals full of the best Californian Parks and pictures of skimpy bikini clad groupies…and seven fit snaw drifts…wish I’d got a fuckin sledge !